PHILADELPHIA– When Drexel senior guard Troy Harper decided to transfer from Campbell to Drexel two years ago, one of the main reasons he chose Drexel was coming back home to Philadelphia.
So when you have an opportunity to shine in front of your hometown, against another school that is located in your hometown, you take full advantage of it. And that’s exactly what Harper did.
Coming off of the bench after a lackluster first three games including scoring zero points against D-III Bryn Athyn on Wednesday, Harper dropped an impressive 24 points to lift the Dragons to an 89-84 victory over La Salle.
“Sometimes I just get in the zone where I just I don’t know, you go watch the Delaware game last year I just got into that zone and just locked into that zone again today,” Harper said. “I can’t really explain it, it’s just one of those zones you get into as an athlete and you lock in and everything felt like it was going in slow motion.”
“He plays like that he gives us a boost whether he’s on the bench, starting, whatever,” Drexel head coach Zach Spiker said. “I thought he was really really good today, 24 points, got to the foul line, we’re giving him the ball late in the game to go to the foul line, he was huge for us today.”
A majority of Harper’s 24 points came strictly from free throws as Harper converted on 14 of his 16 free throw attempts.
Known as someone who always takes it to the rim, Harper’s game can hurt opposing teams in two different ways. He can dunk it or finish around the rim for a lay-in, or he can get fouled and hurt you from the stripe.
With a free-throw percentage of 81 percent this season and a career free throw percentage of 75 percent, Harper has always been proficient with his free throw shooting.
“Getting to the line has always been apart of my game even in High School,” Harper said. “I play downhill, I get to the rim and get fouled a lot so if you want to score the ball you got to make free throws, after practice I make sure I make 10 in a row before I leave, if I miss the ninth one I start over, it’s just a routine I do.”
Of course a Philly kid coming back home means a lot as you can imagine Harper wanting to put on a show in front of family and friends, but in this particular matchup, Harper got a chance to catch up with some familiar faces.
Playing at Neumann-Gorretti, Harper experienced playing in one of the best high school basketball leagues across the county in the Philadelphia Catholic League. La Salle guards Traci Carter and Dave Beatty also played in the catholic league during their high school years though both transferred midway through but both still reside in Philadelphia.
“I don’t want to say there’s more on the line but I do kind of take it personally just growing up with the guys,” Harper said. “Philly vs Philly and things like that, Traci and Dave, they played in the Catholic league so I kinda had a one up on them and just wanted to keep it going,”
“Most of the time we work out together in the summertime, we play pickup together so we know each other’s game, I don’t want to say it makes it easier but you do know what you can do and can’t do against those guys.”
Harper’s performance against La Salle could be a nice spark for the senior season of one of Philadelphia’s own as the Dragons will need him to perform this season. But a performance like that, especially against city rivals,
“You know what, he just started off in a little bit of a funk this season and he and I talked a lot and I’m really happy for him to have this day and this moment,” Spiker said.
“And we all know it means a little bit more to another Philadelphia guy.”